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Encyclopedia > Pahlavi

The Pahlavi script was used broadly in the Sasanid Persian Empire to write down Middle Persian for secular, as well as religious purposes. Head of king Shapur II (Sasanian dynasty A.D. 4th century). ... Pahlavi is a term that refers: (1) to a script used in Iran derived from the Aramaic script, and (2) more broadly, to Middle Persian, the Middle Iranian language written in this script. ...

History of the Alphabet

Wadi el-Hol 19th c. BC
Proto-Canaanite 14th c. BC The oldest known alphabet consists of recently discovered graffiti, scratched onto rocks in central Egypt around 1800 BC. It appears to have been used by Semitic workers or mercenaries partially integrated into Egyptian society. ... Two similar but undeciphered scripts believed to be ancestral to all modern alphabets are attested from the Middle Bronze Age (2000-1500 BCE): the Proto-Sinaitic script discovered in the winter of 1904-1905 by William Flinders Petrie, and dated to 1500 BCE, and the Wadi el-Ħôl (or Wadi... Drawing of the 16 and 12 characters Wadi el-Hol inscriptions The Proto-Canaanite (also Proto-Sinaitic) alphabet is identified as the prototype of the Semitic alphabets that, mostly via the successful Phoenician alphabet became the ancestor of most scripts in use today. ...

Meroitic 3rd c. BC


Technical note: Due to technical limitations, some web browsers may not display some special characters in this article. ... The Phoenician alphabet dates from around 1000 BC and is derived from the Proto-Canaanite alphabet. ... The Phoenician alphabet dates from around 1000 BC and is derived from the Proto-Canaanite alphabet. ... The Samaritan alphabet is a direct descendant of the paleo-Hebrew variety of the Phoenician alphabet, the more commonly known Hebrew alphabet having been adapted from the Aramaic alphabet under the Persian Empire. ... The Aramaic alphabet is an abjad alphabet designed for writing the Aramaic language. ... Note: This article contains special characters. ... The Avestan alphabet was created in the 3rd century AD for writing the hymns of Zarathustra (a. ... BrāhmÄ« refers to the pre-modern members of the Brahmic family of scripts, attested from the 3rd century BC. The best known and earliest dated inscriptions in Brahmi are the rock-cut edicts of Ashoka. ... 11th century book in Syriac Serto. ... The Arabic alphabet is the script used for writing the Arabic language. ... Old Italic refers to a number of related historical alphabets used on the Italian peninsula which were used for some non-Indo-European languages (Etruscan and probably North Picene), various Indo-European languages belonging to the Italic branch (Faliscan and members of the Sabellian group, including Oscan, Umbrian, and South... The Runic alphabets are a set of related alphabets using letters known as runes, formerly used to write Germanic languages, mainly in Scandinavia and the British Isles. ... The Latin alphabet, also called the Roman alphabet, is the most widely used alphabetic writing system in the world. ... Tablet inscribed with the Glagolitic alphabet The Glagolitic alphabet or Glagolitsa is the oldest known Slavonic alphabet. ... The Cyrillic alphabet (or azbuka, from the old name of the first letters) is an alphabet used to write six natural Slavic languages (Belarusian, Bulgarian, Macedonian, Russian, Serbian, and Ukrainian) and many other languages of the former Soviet Union, Asia and Eastern Europe. ... The South Arabian alphabet branched from the Proto-Sinaitic alphabet in ca. ... The Geez language (or Giiz language) is an ancient language that developed in the Ethiopian Highlands of the Horn of Africa as the language of the peasantry. ... The Meroitic script is an alphabet of Egyptian (Hieroglyphic) origin used in Kingdom of Meroë. Some scholars, e. ...

Origins of the term

The word Pahlavi, referring to the script of Middle Persian, itself is a borrowing from Parthian (parthau "Parthian" --> pahlaw; the semivowel glide r changes to l, a common occurrence in language evolution). The word originally referred to the language spoken by the Parthians, and later came to be applied to the script used to write Middle Persian, which was derived from the Aramaic alphabet. Middle Persian Pahlavi script was derived from Aramaic independently, although Inscriptional MP Pahlvi is quite similar to Inscriptional Parthian Pahlavi. Reproduction of a Parthian warrior as depicted on Trajans Column The Parthian Empire was the dominating force on the Iranian plateau beginning in the late 3rd century BCE, and intermittently controlled Mesopotamia between ca 190 BCE and 224 CE. Origins Bust of Parthian soldier, Esgh-abad Museum, Turkmenia. ... Semivowels (also called semiconsonants or glides) are vowels that function phonemically as consonants. ... The Aramaic alphabet is an abjad alphabet designed for writing the Aramaic language. ...

Pahlavi texts

Main article: Pahlavi literature. This article needs to be wikified. ...

The earliest evidence of Middle Persian (MP) Pahlavi writing have reached us from the Parthian period and are used on various pieces of graffiti that have been discovered in the Persepolis complex. This is not to say that Middle Persian was not written any earlier than this. Indeed, there are reasons to believe that the earliest forms of Middle Persian were already written in various forms of Aramaic during the later Achaemenid era. Still, extensive use of the MP Pahlavi seems, from the available evidence, to have occurred only after the accession of the Middle Persian-speaking Sasanian dynasty in 224 AD. Graffiti on the banks of the Tiber river in Rome, Italy. ... Persepolis was an ancient capital of the Persian Empire, situated some 70 km northeast of Shiraz, not far from where the small river Pulwar flows into the Kur (Kyrus). ... Achaemenid Empire The Achaemenid Dynasty was a dynasty in the ancient Persian Empire, including Cyrus II the Great, Darius I and Xerxes I. At the height of their power, the Achaemenid rulers of Persia ruled over territories roughly emcompassing some parts of todays Iraq, Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Israel, Lebanon... Head of king Shapur II (Sasanian dynasty A.D. 4th century). ...

Categories of Pahlavi script

Pahlavi script consisted of two major forms: Inscriptional Pahlavi and Book Pahlavi, along with the minor category of Psalter Pahlavi. Our earliest evidence of Pahlavi are provided by the inscriptions of various Sasanian emperors and other notables (e.g. the religious leader Kerdir). Book Pahlavi, a smoother script in which letters often attached to form complicated ligatures, was probably adapted later. The third category of Pahlavi, Psalter script, was used to write down a Middle Persian translation of the Psalter, and it took advantage of some improvements such as the absence of heterograms and further distinguishment of letters. Inscriptions are words or letters written, engraved, painted, or otherwise traced on a surface and can appear in contexts both small and monumental. ... Psalms (Tehilim תהילים, in Hebrew) is a book of the Hebrew Bible or Tanakh, and of the Old Testament of the Christian Bible. ... Head of king Shapur II (Sasanian dynasty A.D. 4th century). ... The word ligature can mean more than one thing. ...

Book Pahlavi

Book Pahlavi, the most common form of the script, was a complicated writing system with 12 characters representing 24 sounds. The matter was further complicated by the wide-spread use of ligatures, heterograms, and attaching of the letters. One unique feature of Pahlavi orthography is the use of Aramaic "heterograms" to render many common Pahlavi words. For example, the Pahlavi word for "king", shah, was written as MLKA, recognizable as the Aramaic word for "king" cognate with contemporary Arabic malik, but it was intended to be pronounced as shah. Using heterograms was also applied to verbs, where Pahlavi person-number agreement and tense markers were appended to an Aramaic third-person masculine singular present verb. Many extremely common nouns, verbs, and even function words were subject to heterographic writing. A schematic representation of hearing. ... Arabic (العربية al-arabiyyah, or less formally arabi) is the largest member of the Semitic branch of the Afro-Asiatic language family (classification: South Central Semitic) and is closely related to Hebrew and Aramaic. ...

In its later forms, attempts were made to improve the alphabet by adding diacritics and signs to the letters. Since no actual Pahlavi book has survived from the Sasanian period, we are left with medieval copies and have no way of knowing whether these improvements happened under the Sasanian rule or in the post-Islamic era. After the fall of the Sasanians, the Pahlavi script, as well as Middle Persian language, was preserved by the Zoroastrian clergy and scholars and was used to compose new pieces of literature. The alphabet was actively used by the Zoroastrian community well unto the 10th century AD. A diacritical mark or diacritic, sometimes called an accent mark, is a mark added to a letter to alter a words pronunciation or to distinguish between similar words. ...

External links

  • Pahlavi script



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